Low carbon in the National Capital Region’s buildings
From: Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)
Learn how the Energy Services Acquisition Program (ESAP) plans to help the government meet its goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in its own operations by 40% by 2025.
On this page
- About the Energy Services Acquisition Program
- How we will modernize
- Milestones achieved
- Next steps
- Photo gallery
- Benefits to Canadians
- Contract details
- News about the program
- Related links
- More information
About the Energy Services Acquisition Program
Eighty buildings in Ottawa, including the Parliament Buildings, are served by the ESAP district energy system. The current heating and cooling system was built between 50 and 100 years ago and is out-of-date. The system connects to 5 central plants using more than 14 kilometers of underground piping. The system provides heating by steam and hot water and cooling by chilled water. Many of its parts are becoming unusable. In the same way that you might replace an old furnace in your home with a more energy-efficient model, we are modernizing the system to cut GHG and save money. Operations and maintenance of the district energy system will continue through 2055.
Video: Energy Services Acquisition Program
Transcript: Energy Services Acquisition Program
Video length: 1:24 minutes
Start of a clip
(On screen a graphic image of the bars and leaf of a Canadian flag changing from red to green.)
Text displayed: The Government of Canada is greening.
(A graph showing greenhouse gases (GHGs) on the vertical axis and years on the horizontal axis, with markings for the years 2005, 2025 and 2030. A jagged line moves down from the top left to the bottom right.)
Text displayed: We’re cutting greenhouse gases (GHGs) from federal operations by 40% by 2030 at the latest.
(A cityscape with a cluster of high-rise buildings including the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings and an industrial-type building representing a central heating and cooling plant. In front of the buildings is a road with several vehicles moving along in both directions. Below the road red and blue lines, with arrows pointing and moving upwards, represent pipes that circulate water and steam.)
Text displayed: One major project that will get us there is the modernization of the network of plants that heat and cool 80 buildings in the capital.
(Columns of cars build one by one, 5 cars in the first column, 6 in the second and 7 in the third.)
Text displayed: Stage 1: Modernization - These changes will be the equivalent of taking 14,000 cars off the road.
(A thermometer showing red to the top at first and then falling as a counter shows a reduction from 195 to 70 degrees Celsius, with the numbers dropping alongside the red line.)
Text displayed: This includes: Using lower temperature water instead of steam.
(An electrical plug with a green cord that goes down and then around the plug, turning into a leaf as it becomes a full circle.)
Text displayed: This includes: Switching from steam to electric chillers.
(A five-story building connected by an arrow to a circle with a leaf in it.)
Text displayed: This includes: Implementing Smart Buildings.
(On screen are three windmills and then a tractor drives across from left to right as 3 trees appear behind it, each shedding a few leaves.)
Text displayed: Our vision is to switch to low carbon energy sources.
(High rise buildings pop up one-by-one into a cluster of 15.)
Text displayed: And to increase the number of buildings on the new system.
(The same columns of cars seen earlier reappear and then shrink as 5 more columns appear to the right, each higher than the last, with the last column having 12 cars.)
Text displayed: Eventually, the total reduction in GHGs could be the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road.
(A bar graph shows a column headed “Energy usage” going down while a column headed “Cost savings” goes up.)
Text displayed: Using less energy will also generate annual cost savings.
(A yellow construction hat appears on the right of the screen, and three buildings under construction and a crane appear on top of it.)
Text displayed: Construction will start in 2020 and will be completed in 2025.
(Energy Services Acquisition Program)
Text displayed: For more information contact us at Canada.ca/greening-government
(Public Services and Procurement Canada departmental signature)
End of clip
Infographic: How district energy works
The infographic title is Energy Services Acquisition Program: How District Energy Works. It depicts a cityscape, with a cluster of high-rise buildings including the Centre Block, one of Canada’s Parliament Buildings. On the far left is an industrial type building with steam coming out of chimneys, representing a central heating and cooling plant.
In front of the buildings is a road with several vehicles. Below the road are lines underground showing how the heating and cooling plant is connected to the buildings through red and blue lines, with arrows pointing up. The lines represent pipes that circulate hot water, steam, and chilled water.
Three blocks of text are shown above the buildings:
A district energy system is a set of central plants that heats buildings with hot water or steam and cools buildings with chilled water. They are used all over the world.
This uses less energy and is more efficient than having equipment in each individual building.
The government district energy system in Ottawa heats 80 buildings and cools 67 buildings, including the Parliament Buildings.
One block of text is shown below ground on the lines representing pipes:
The water circulates through underground pipes connected in a loop.
At the bottom of the page, there is a quote from the United Nations Environmental Program report, District Energy in Cities: Unlocking the Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:
“… modern district energy systems in cities is one of the least-cost and most efficient solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy demand.”
How we will modernize
ESAP will modernize the central heating and cooling plants (CHCPs) that heat and cool federal and non-federal buildings in the National Capital Region (NCR). The program to modernize the CHCPs will be completed in 2 stages.
Stage 1: Installing modern technologies
Modern technologies will make the plants safer and more energy efficient. The actions below, combined with past projects, will reduce GHG from buildings connected to the District Energy System (DES) by about 63% compared to 2005 baseline emission levels.
Converting to low-temperature hot water
The current system provides heat by steam and hot water. We will convert the plants from using the high temperature steam system to using a more energy-efficient low temperature hot water (LTHW) system. The new system will use less energy and produce fewer GHGs. Instead of circulating steam through the pipes, the system will use low-temperature hot water to heat the buildings connected to the network. This is safer and more efficient.
Switching to electric chillers
The Ottawa River will help chill the water which will cool buildings connected to the network. This is a more sustainable alternative to the current system.
Installing Smart Building technology
We will use Smart buildings initiative technology to find ways to produce energy more efficiently.
Results of stage 1
By the end of Stage 1, all connected buildings will be converted to accept the new DES technology. The Cliff, Tunney’s Pasture and National Printing Bureau plants will be newly built, and the Confederation Heights plant will be renovated. The National Research Council plant will be decommissioned.
Timeline: From 2019 to 2025
Infographic: Central heating and cooling plant locations in Ottawa
Map of the National Capital Region highlighting the location of the 5 central heating and cooling plants. This includes the National Printing Bureau in Gatineau and the following plants in Ottawa: Cliff, Tunney’s Pasture, National Research Council, and Confederation Heights.
Learn more about the central heating and cooling plants and how we are modernizing them through ESAP.
Stage 2: Deeper Greening: Using alternative sources of energy for the future
In this stage, we are exploring replacing natural gas base load, which is the amount of heating required for most days, with low-carbon fuel sources such as:
- Clean electricity
- Renewable natural gas
- Electric boilers (non-GHG emitting sources)
- River water pump (using water from the Ottawa River to assist in the cooling process)
- Waste heat recovered from chillers
- Geo exchange (using the ground like a battery to store heat in the summer so that it can be used in the winter)
Use of these sources is expected to reduce GHG by an additional 28%. We will carry out additional work under the User Building Conversion Plan (UBCP) to ensure that buildings are ready to connect to the modernized system.
Timeline: From 2021 to 2030
- A public-private partnership (P3) has been put in place to manage the modernization
- This is being achieved through a long-term contract
- Commercial opportunities were posted on buyandsell.gc.ca at various stages of the project
- March 2017: We published a Letter of interest (EP-635-173247/A) to inform industry of upcoming contracting opportunities
- August 31, 2017: We published the Request for qualification: Energy Services Acquisition Program (ES635-173247/B) to evaluate interested companies and consortia on their experience in projects of similar size and complexity
- We used this to develop a short list of 3 potential bidders to continue to the request for proposals stage
- 2017 to 2019: We completed Pilot Testing and Feasibility Studies for Deeper Greening Program (DGP). For more information, contact PSPC’s Energy Service Modernization (ESM) Project: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Early 2018: We shared the request for proposals with qualified bidders and set out the conditions and specifications of the project
- The qualified bidders submitted binding technical and financial proposals
- Spring of 2019: We finalized a contract with Innovate Energy, the P3 partner for the project.
- 2020: This is the end of the District Energy System Handover Transition and Start of Modernization Design & Construction for ESM Project
- 2022: Program Approval for DGP
- 2022: Construction on the Modernized Gatineau Energy Centre (MGEC) began in June 2022 and will be completed by March 2025
- The construction of the MGEC represents a further step in building and retrofitting some of the cleanest, most sustainable cutting-edge energy centres in North America
- August 2022: The DGP Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is now complete.
- 2022 to 2030: Design and construction for the Deeper Greening Program
- 2024: Finish converting the buildings
- 2026: Finish modernizing the systems
- 2029: Complete the Deeper Greening Program
- 2030: Energy services will operate at net-zero carbon
Click on the image to view a larger version.
Benefits to Canadians
We are committed to reducing GHG emissions and to lead by example by greening our own operations. ESAP will modernize the district energy system that heats and cools several federal and non-federal buildings. This will in turn reduce GHG, save money and improve overall safety.
By modernizing this system, we will contribute to climate change commitments by transitioning to a low-carbon economy and by stimulating the clean technology sector.
We signed anagreement with Innovate Energy, a public-private partnership for the modernization of the DES in the NCR.
Innovate Energy is a consortium of partners working on the project. Partners include:
- PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
- PCL Investments Canada Inc.
- ENGIE Services Canada
- Black & McDonald
The engineering professional services firm WSP is participating as well as bbb architects.
- $1.1 billion to design and build
$1.5 billion for maintenance
- Total Value
- $2.6 billion
- 2019 to 2055
- Project status
- In progress
News about the program
- June 4, 2019: Government of Canada invests in cleaner energy system for the National Capital Region
- August 31, 2017: Government of Canada launches procurement process for Energy Services Acquisition Program
- July 18, 2017: Government of Canada committed to modernizing heating and cooling plants in National Capital Region
- Roadmap to Low-Carbon Operations in the National Capital Region report
- Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
- Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
- Greening Government initiative (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)
- Energy consumption in commercial and institutional buildings in Canada (Natural Resources Canada)
- Smart Buildings initiative (Public Services and Procurement Canada)
- Green buildings (Public Services and Procurement Canada)
- Government of Canada invests in cleaner energy system for the National Capital Region
- Innovate Energy (Private Partner)
- Greening Government Strategy: A Government of Canada Directive (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)
Contact Real Property
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